For the past 159 years, the 19th of June held its Juneteenth events on land owned by slaves after they found out about their freedom.

MEXIA, Texas — The 19th of June Organization is gearing up for its much-anticipated five-day Juneteenth celebration, set to start on Saturday, June 15 and run through Wednesday, June 19 in Mexia, Texas.

Juneteenth is when the last slaves found out about their freedom, two years after the emancipation proclamation.

Dating back to June 19, 1865, when the news of emancipation reached the enslaved people of Texas, Juneteenth has since become a symbol of freedom and resilience. Now, 159 years later, the 19th of June Organization in Mexia stands as the proud host of one of the longest-running Juneteenth celebrations in the nation.

Madeline Kirven-Gamble, Vice President of the 19th of June Organization, expressed the sentiment, “This is the place to be for Juneteenth.” 

Central Texas historian Daniel Keeling, compared the atmosphere to a “big family reunion.”

The festivities including parades, musical performances, skits and games, and the sharing history. 

Each year the celebration is at Booker T. Washington Park at Comanche Crossing, where the Juneteenth festivities have been held for generations. Keeling emphasized the historical significance of this location, stating, “Comanche Crossing here in Limestone County is the most documented of any Juneteenth in the county.”

For David Echols, a board member of the 19th of June Organization, the celebration is a source of pride and continuity. “It makes us proud that we are able to keep this going,” he said. 

The Juneteenth celebration has garnered national attention, drawing visitors from across the United States. Keeling reminisced, “We had somewhere between 10 and 20,000 people a year come up here,” a staggering figure that well surpasses Mexia’s current population.

Organizers are extending an open invitation to all to join in the festivities and honor the legacy of Juneteenth. “Limestone County gives Juneteenth a whole new meaning,” Kirven-Gamble remarked, echoing the sentiment of community pride and resilience.

With the 19th of June Organization’s tireless efforts to preserve and promote this vital piece of American history, Mexia’s Juneteenth celebration promises to be an unforgettable experience for all who attend. As Echols aptly stated, “We’re working very hard in order to bring people back.” 

So mark your calendars and join the community in Mexia from June 15th to 19th to celebrate Juneteenth and embrace the spirit of freedom and unity.

June 15 – Pre-celebration:

  • 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Parade
  • 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Meet and Greet
  • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Ms. Juneteenth Pageant
  • 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.: Vibe the Band performs

June 16 – Celebration:

  • 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Rev. Cummings and local churches, Phylicia Rashid performance and memorial acknowledgements
    • Praise and worship – Min. Jason Forge
    • Memorial Honorees
      • Ada Conner
      • Edith Chambers
      • Daisy Reed
      • Brenda Means
    • Song – Bobby Cooper
    • Living Legend Honorees
      • Dr. EV Moore
      • Rosie Gipson
      • Evangelist Deloris Huggins
      • Bobby Cooper
    • Song – St. Luke United Methodist
    • Master Directors Honorees
      • Mi. Jason Forge
      • Maxine Perry- Jones
      • Gary Ravnell
      • Randle Chambers
      • Min. Nathaniel Bedford
    • Song – Sardis PB Church
  • 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.: Joe Carmouche and Band

June 17 – Open Mic/Karaoke and Live Performances:

  • 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m: Ceremony, Redeem Team
  • 7 – 11:30 p.m.: Jeff Aycock

June 18 – Family Fun Day at 12 p.m.

  • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Mama Jo Skit
  • 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Front Cover Band

June 19 – Juneteenth Service at 11 a.m.

    • 11 a.m.: Juneteenth Pageant and Scholarship Award, Speaker Hurtis Rhodes, Mama Jo Skit
    • 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. DJ Dolla

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